Sara is facing the camera with a relaxed expression. Her hands are resting under her chin and her hair is pulled back.

Why do people suffer from mental illness, and what helps them heal? As a child, I often asked myself these questions while perusing my mother’s psychology texts. I had been impressed by how rewarding her career as a psychotherapist was for her; she often shared how much she loved integrating her creativity and knowledge to help clients change. Reading about the struggles of others – particularly those for whom traditional interventions failed – further ignited my interest in clinical psychology.  My personal experience with anorexia and anxiety only fueled my fascination with all things mental health-related.

So here I am today: a graduate student in Simon Fraser University’s Clinical Psychology program in gorgeous Vancouver, B.C.  My main interests reside at the intersection of emotion and personality, and much of my work to date has focused on the etiology and treatment of related issues. I’m so grateful to love my work as much as I do, and hope to continue learning, researching, writing, and practicing in the field for many years to come.

Stigma about mental illness remains pervasive in our society, and I’m so honoured to be part of AMHC’s current endeavour to shed light on what unfortunately remains a cultural taboo.  Like other social movements, our success depends upon individuals within the community to step up as activists and risk making themselves vulnerable.  I’m optimistic that through a combination of shared experience, public psychoeducation, and advocacy, we can enact the kind of change that will enable those affected by mental illness to lead better lives.